Sunday, February 8, 2015

Schools for the Freedmen ~ 1868

Freedmen's School
Edisto Island, SC

The Freedmen's Bureau helped to establish Mississippi’s first widespead public schools and laid the foundation for public education. Freedmen desired education for their children and adults wanted night schools so they too could learn to read and write. Below is a letter written by a teacher asking for protection from violence from local citizens.

Liberty, Amite Co., Miss
March 15th 1868

To John W Hardley
Act Ast Sub Com
Liberty, Miss

Dear Sir,
I have the honor to report that I was sent here by H. R. Pease, Esq, Gen Supt of Education for the State of Miss to open a scholl(sp) for the Freedmen. I have already a very good day scholl(sp) & could get a night school for the grown persons as they are very anxious for it but they are afraid to attend a night school from the threat made by many citizens here, "that if such a school is started, that they will fire into said school after night." Sworn statements can be had of the names of many of threatening parties as the Freedmen are all anxious that the school should be carried on. I would be much obliged to you, if you would inform me if there can be any protection afforded myself & scholars from violence & outrage from the threatening parties unless some means is devised, the school must be abandoned, as the freedmen are in bodily fear.

Yours very respt,
Dan'l Essiq, Teacher

Mississippi, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records, 1865-1872," images, FamilySearch (,1078469101 : accessed 7 February 2015), Brookhaven (subassistant commissioner) > Roll 11, Unregistered letters received, Jun 1865-Nov 1868 > image 151 of 214; citing NARA microfilm publication M1907 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

Photograph Courtesy of Library of Congress

Reconstruction in Mississippi 1865-1876


  1. Thank you for the wealth of information. My last name is Mitchell and my family is from your county, so i'm sure there has to be some kind of connection. I sent you an email and i'll await your reply...Thank you for your effort again.

  2. There likely is a connection. Thank you.

  3. So sad. Wonder what happened to that particular school.

    1. The records did not reveal what happen to that particular school.